Nation & World

At DC march, MLK’s granddaughter says she has a dream, too — of a ‘gun-free world’

Jaclyn Corin, right, stands with Yolanda Renee King, granddaughter of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
Jaclyn Corin, right, stands with Yolanda Renee King, granddaughter of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. AP

Martin Luther King Jr. famously spoke of his dream in 1963 that his children “will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

His fourth-grade granddaughter spoke before the March For Our Lives in Washington, D.C., on Saturday to say that she has a dream, too.

“I have a dream that enough is a enough,” Yolanda Renee King said to a cheering crowd, “and that this should be a gun-free world, period.”

She then led the crowd in a chant of “Spread the word! Have you heard, all across the nation, we are going to be a great generation!”

The 9-year-old and her father, Martin Luther King III, spoke with CNN’s Brooke Baldwin about her speech — and how she had just had a lockdown drill on Friday at her elementary school.

Her dad said that Yolanda had shown an interest in gun reform long before a shooter killed 17 students and staff members at a high school in Parkland, Florida.

“In 2016, President Obama invited us to see the bust of dad that was in the oval office, I think it’s still in the oval office,” he said on CNN. “We asked her, my wife and I said, ‘Yolanda, you need to prepare a question for the president.’

“Back then she said, ‘Mr. President, what are you gonna do about these guns?’”

President Barack Obama talks with Yolanda Renee King, 5, granddaughter of Martin Luther King Jr., her mother, Arndrea Waters, and Martin Luther King III after speaking at a ceremony commemorating the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington on Aug. 28, 2013, at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. File photo by Evan Vucci ASSOCIATED PRESS

Yolanda told CNN that she had a dream just a week ago about her famous grandfather, and that he said she was always with her.

That dream happened before the fourth-grader knew she would be speaking before thousands, her dad said, as organizers of the march decided just a few days ago that she would lead the crowd in a chant.

Hundreds of thousands of people, many of them students, gathered throughout the country to advocate for stricter gun laws, The Washington Post reported. They congregated in cities from Washington, D.C., to Los Angeles.

Naomi Wadler, an 11-year-old, was another young speaker who grabbed the attention of many. She helped organize a walkout of 60 fellow students at George Mason Elementary School, according to the Fairfax Times.

Wadler talked about why she pushed for the walkout — and had the protest last 18 minutes instead of 17 minutes like those at other schools were doing for the 17 victims of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. The extra minute was for Courtlin Arrington, a 17-year-old black teenager shot and killed by another student on March 7, and other black women killed by guns, she said.

“I am here today to acknowledge and represent the African-American girls whose stories don’t make the front page of every national newspaper,” she said to loud cheers, “(and) whose stories don’t lead on the evening news.

“I represent the African-American women who are victims of gun violence, who are simply statistics instead of vibrant beautiful girls full of potential.”

Other speakers included survivors of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School like David Hogg and Emma Gonzalez, who led a moving moment of silence for her slain classmates.